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Huawei to Build its First European Manufacturing Plant in France

Huawei to Build First European 5G Factory in France to Soothe Western Nerves

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Huawei
A Huawei company logo at Shenzhen International Airport in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China. VOA

Huawei will build its first European manufacturing plant in France, its chairman said Thursday, as the Chinese telecom giant seeks to ease worldwide concerns stoked by U.S. charges that Beijing could use its equipment for spying.

Liang Hua said , the world’s biggest producer of telecom equipment, would invest 200 million euros ($217 million) in the first phase of setting up the mobile base station plant. He said it would create 500 jobs.

Huawei, which denies its equipment poses a security risk, is at the center of a storm pitting the United States against China over 5G, the next-generation mobile technology. Europe has become a major battleground.

Continental market

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Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Chairman Liang Hua speaks during a news conference in Paris, France. VOA

“This site will supply the entire European market, not just France’s,” Liang said at a news conference. “Our group’s activities are worldwide and for this we need a global industrial footprint.”

5G technology is expected to deliver a huge leap in the speed and capacity of communications and an exponential spike in connections between billions of devices, from smart refrigerators to driverless cars, that are expected to run on 5G networks.

It was not immediately clear whether Huawei’s decision had the blessing of French President Emmanuel Macron, who has courted foreign investors but also led warnings about Chinese encroachment into the European Union’s economy.

Liang said that the company had outlined the group’s plans to the French government. “This is not a charm offensive,” he said.

There was no immediate reaction from Macron’s office.

Early stages 

The United States has repeatedly warned European allies against allowing the Chinese firm into the continent’s 5G infrastructure. But European capitals are divided about how to deal with Huawei.

France has yet to start rolling out its 5G networks but the top French mobile operator, state-controlled Orange, has already chosen Huawei’s European rivals, Nokia and Ericsson.

Smaller operators Bouygues Telecom and Altice Europe’s SFR, whose existing networks rely heavily on Huawei, are urging Paris to clarify its position on Huawei.

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The Huawei logo is pictured at the IFA consumer tech fair in Berlin, Germany. VOA

France says it will not discriminate against any vendor but requires all suppliers to be screened so they can secure a green light from the cybersecurity agency, which is examining Huawei equipment. Sources close to the French telecom industry say they fear Huawei will be barred in practice even if no formal ban is announced.

Neighboring Germany is also struggling to reach consensus on the way forward. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives back tougher rules on foreign vendors but have stopped short of an outright ban on Huawei.

British plan

Britain has defied the United States by allowing “high-risk vendors” such as Huawei into nonsensitive parts of its 5G network but not what it describes as “core” components.

Washington has pressed London to reconsider.

The mobile base stations that will be manufactured in France are not considered core to 5G network infrastructure.

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Huawei accuses the United States of seeking to frustrate its growth because no U.S. company can offer the same range of technology at a competitive price.

The French plant will be Huawei’s second manufacturing facility outside China. It has a plant making smartphones in India but only has assembly plants elsewhere. The plant in France will generate 1 billion euros a year in sales. (VOA)

Next Story

Microsoft Plans To Make All Events “Digital-Only” Till July 2021

"As a company, Microsoft has made the decision to transition all external and internal events to a digital-first experience through July 2021," it read

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Microsoft
As a company, Microsoft has made the decision to transition all external and internal events to a digital-first experience through July 2021. Pixabay

In a strong message for tech giants as new coronavirus continues its unabated growth globally particularly in the US, Microsoft is planning to make all its events – internal as well as external – digital-only till July 2021.

According to a report in The Verge on Tuesday, the online-only focus is now extending to far more events over the next year.

“In light of the challenges presented by COVID-19, Microsoft has been closely monitoring the developing global situation and re-assessing the overall company-wide in-person event strategy,” the report said, quoting an an internal Microsoft email sent to most valuable professionals (MVPs).

“As a company, Microsoft has made the decision to transition all external and internal events to a digital-first experience through July 2021,” it read.

Microsoft has already announced that ‘Ignite’ which is its final major conference of 2020 in September has been shifted to a digital-only format.

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In a strong message for tech giants as new coronavirus continues its unabated growth globally particularly in the US, Microsoft is planning to make all its events – internal as well as external – digital-only till July 2021. Pixabay

‘Ignite’ is Microsoft’s conference for IT professionals and developers.

Microsoft earlier cancelled its flagship developer conference ‘Build 2020’ in-person, scheduled to take place in the US from May 19-21.

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Microsoft has also cancelled its Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Summit in Seattle.

The tech giant would now rely on its own digital tools and Microsoft Teams to hold events remotely. (IANS)